Scott Walker is fighting for municipal budgets too

One of the things that has been missed in the debate over public employee unions in Wisconsin is the impact on city and county budgets. Governor Scott Walker’s proposal doesn’t just impact the state’s fiscal situation, but it attempts to help the cities and counties. And, as the former Counter Executive of 2-1 Democratic Milwaukee County, Walker has a real familiarity with how the fiscal crisis is impacting city and county budgets. Aaron Rodriguez from the Hispanic Conservative has done us all a great service by reviewing the budget fights with the unions that Walker won in his county. Rodriguez, a leading Wisconsin school choice activist, has great examples of how the teachers unions have put their own interests ahead of the children.

LaborUnionReport had a nice review of the corruption involved in one of the more corrupt practices that impact county finances. Union collective bargaining agreements require  school districts, for example, to purchase health care through the Wisconsin Education Association Trust. Simply put, it is not enough for the unions to require that the union members get good health care. They also want to force the school districts to purchase health care from a union-owned health insurance company. The state-enforced monopoly provider of education services is using their monopoly position to force the school districts to purchase.

Obviously, these additional costs hurt. But how much? Green Bay’s ABC affiliate WBAY-2, has a summary of the issues. The numbers are pretty remarkable.

Currently many school districts participate in WEA trust because WEAC collectively bargains to get as many school districts across the state to participate in this union run health insurance plan as possible.  Union leadership benefits from members participating in this plan.  If school districts enrolled in the state employee health plan, it would save school districts up to $68 million per year.  Beyond that if school districts had the flexibility to look for health insurance coverage outside of WEA trust or the state plan, additional savings would likely be realized.

I note the figure $68 million. This is not state budget costs. These costs are faced by cities and counties which have even less flexibility than state budgets. The left tries to focus the problem as narrowly as possible on the state fiscal situation. But the number of impacted governments are much larger.

Twitter Updates for 2011-02-25

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Twitter Updates for 2011-02-24

  • Union thug hits my friend Tabitha at the protest today … #
  • people that talk about falling income need to account for falling income in europe. It is technology and unfortunate. But reality. #
  • Imagine a president who actually was interseted in democracy rather than mealy-mouth about it #
  • If people listen to Walker, he is talking about the slush funds of union health funds … #
  • @daveweigel well, we talk about the labor movement living in the past, but that's ridiculous 🙂 in reply to daveweigel #
  • Just a reminder that the big interest groups in America spend a lot more on Democrats … #
  • Greek public employee unions sabotage their country. #

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Twitter Updates for 2011-02-23

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Twitter Updates for 2011-02-22

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Public employee unions: The big money in politics

A lot of people focus on the federal level when they think about politics. On the day after the 2010 election, I urged people to continue the fights at the state level. The unions — and especially the public employee unions — know that. Recall that in October of last year, the Wall Street Journal broke a very important story that found that AFSCME, the main non-teacher public employee union in the country, was the largest spender of the 2010 election. Their political director said, “we’re the big dog.”

I urge you to turn your eyes to the state level. The National Institute on Money in State Politics has an excellent site on money in state politics. Who are the #1 spenders in state politics? The public employee unions. #2 the gambling industry. In Wisconsin? The teachers unions are first and third, with the trial lawyers in fourth. Oh, and the Democrats themselves are in second.

And ultimately, that’s why the Democrats in the state legislature are AWOL. They are worried about their money getting cut off. You can see what the unions get for their money. They get state legislators who won’t even allow for a vote to ask public employees contribute to their health care and pension, even at levels below the national or Wisconsin average.

However, one of the Democrats has realized the flaw in their plans. A budget requires 20 votes to pass in the state senate. But simply removing the collecting bargaining rights only requires a simple majority. Let’s hope that the Republicans take the opportunity of Democratic absence to deal with the situation appropriately.